Motherhood is one of the most highly praised roles in the Bible. It is designated even more highly than any role a husband might aspire to.

For instance, in Timothy, Paul says that aspiring to be a “bishop” is a “good thing” (1 Tim 3:1) but in the previous chapter he describes motherhood as far more than a “good thing”—he says it is a work of salvation if it is linked with constant faith, love and holiness with sobriety.

A brother might be diligently labouring in ecclesial life and, whilst this work honours God and is very public, the unseen work of godly motherhood is often more effective and receives a wonderful endorsement from God as being precious and valuable.

Not all sisters end up being mothers to their own children, but all sisters can be “mothers in Israel” in the ecclesia, either literally with children in Sunday School, or in motherly care and affection, as they minister to those in their ecclesia. The principle is still the same; it is a highly prized role in the eyes of our heavenly Father.

The reason I believe motherhood is so highly prized, is that often the day to day occupation of a husband ends up with temporary results. In the kingdom age much of his employment skills and knowledge may have no lasting account.

But the character development of our children and the godly growth of those who we can influence as ecclesial mothers, all have the potential to produce everlasting results.

This is because once those who are trained to willingly obey God as children often willingly submit to Him in baptism by following a conscience that has been developed in them by a loving and diligent mother. And how wonderful it will be when those character traits of their heavenly Father that have been developed in them as children will be perfected in immortality.

There are few employment roles that can offer so much potential and that are so completely in tune with God’s purpose to manifest Himself in others. A mother’s role is to start this process of manifestation in their children by teaching them about God and instructing them to be loving, kind, patient, truthful and longsuffering—just like God. Their nurture and care will begin to develop in them the Fruit of the Spirit.

Coming back to the quote in Timothy, the original Greek is not talking about the act of giving birth; instead it refers to the whole growth and development of a child that is a work of salvation. A better translation of 1 Timothy 2:15 would be, “She shall be saved in childrearing, if they continue in faith and love and holiness with self-control”.

So a mother’s responsibility is to rear up her children to have the characteristics of our heavenly Father—faith, love, holiness and self-control. These are all key aspects which make up God’s character in Exodus 34:6-7 and they form part of God’s glory and purpose.

As parents, we have this incredible opportunity to work together as a team in God’s purpose. The things God is interested in we can share and work with and this includes the development of the minds of the children He has entrusted to us.

In society at large, motherhood is severely undervalued, and seen as second rate to a career. But in God’s eyes it is a precious work of salvation that directly speaks to who He is, His purpose and His character.

In many places, it is hard or even impossible to make the family budget work without some economic input from the wife as well as the husband. If this is the case, ensure that you are still as available as you can be to your children; so always prioritise flexibility of hours over a higher pay. Or maybe have courage to choose to live somewhere with a more moderate cost of living; where the husband’s employment can largely suffice, along with our own reduced expectations of material things. We need to have godly priorities, and view these roles and responsibilities as He does, not as popular culture does.

To help us see the seemingly mundane from God’s viewpoint, consider Matthew 10:42 and Matthew 25:31-40 in relation to the role of a mother. How many glasses of water does a mother give in her lifetime, how many little bodies does a mother feed and clothe? Her work is all part of building a godly home.

And if we are an ecclesial “mother” we will be visiting others often, just as the Lord commanded us to do.

These seemingly insignificant, unrewarded and unvalued tasks are part of the naturally caring nature of a mother that forms part of her role. It is a role that Paul says is a work of salvation, and it is a role full of small tasks which our Lord will reward in the future. Husbands need to support that work of nurturing and caring, ensuring that they don’t undo the development of godliness in the home (cp Eph 6:4; Col 3:21). By supporting the work of your wife, you participate in that same work of salvation.

Therefore, as an ecclesia and family of God, we should highly value and support nurturing and caring work, whether by young mothers or in ecclesial ministry. And no mother should ever feel second-rate, or feel they have chosen something less or feel demeaned if they have decided to be a “maker at home” instead of actively pursuing a career.

The virtuous woman in Proverbs 30 has the prospect of her children and husband calling her blessed; but I hope from this insight you can see, as mothers, that you actually have far greater praise in store, if you choose to fulfil your God-given role of a caring mother to the best of your ability. In the end, you will be blessed by God for undertaking a “work of salvation” in His name.